The former head of the prisoners and missing persons unit in the Mossad, Rami Igra, dismisses the testimony given by a Lebanese citizen claiming to have seen the missing navigator, and that Ron Arad was tortured and died in 1988.
Igra told Arutz Sheva that the story is nothing more than an attempt by a Lebanese citizen to save his own skin and to prove that he deceived Israel rather than helping it. Aside from the journalistic story, he says that there is no substance to the claim.
"Ron Arad disappeared on May 3, 1988, while an operation was going on in Maydun. He was left in his cell by the guards, who left for an operation and returned to find him no longer there. From this, theories were built and information gathered that pointed to several options. One of which is that the Iranians, who knew about the operation in Maydun, used the guards' absence to take Ron as part of an agreement between representatives of Amal [the terror group that captured Arad] and Imad Mughniyah, the then-coordinator between the Iranians and Hezbollah in Beirut.
"Both Hezbollah and we found out from Wafiq Safa, who was responsible for Hezbollah's prisoners. He said that Imad Mughniyah made significant efforts to get information on Ron Arad, and during the Second Lebanon War he sent bones and information like the parachute and more. In my opinion, Kuntar's information [the new information on Arad's torture and death] is nonsense.
"On the other hand, the Lebanese claim from last week about Mughniyah's involvement in finding signs of Ron Arad strengthens the argument that Ron was not given to the Iranians. His fate was determined on the same night, but for different reasons."
When asked if it's possible that Kuntar, the Lebanese citizen who testified, saw a different person and believed that he was Ron Arad, Igra responded that it's possible and it is likely what happened. "But it's reasonable to assume that he made it up in order to appear as though he did not cooperate with his handlers and did not tell them the truth. There is no connection between the Syrian branch in which he was active and those who held Ron Arad. Ron Arad was held by Amal, and there is information about him until 1988, particularly from the letters in which Amal agreed to do a deal with Israel."
Igra reiterated that, to the best of his knowledge and that of the Israeli security agencies, and as opposed to the recent publications in Yediyot Aharonot, Ron Arad disappeared on May 3, 1988. "This is also what the IDF Chief of Staff said in a government meeting dealing with the release of Tannenbaum and returning the bodies of the fallen IDF soldiers from Mount Dov.
And what about the possibility that there is a serial deception against the Israeli apparatus, and that the truth is completely different? Igra rejects such a possibility and said: "It's not possible. It may be that we have some delusional Lebanese guy like how there are always hallucinations in various forms, particularly for those who think that it's possible to get money from Israel in exchange for information. They create connections between Israeli intelligence agencies and thousands upon thousands of tall tales. Here we have another tale. The difference is that this time the story was told in a court while someone was sentenced for spying on behalf of Israel."
Igra believes that the Lebanese court will also not take the story seriously. "This information doesn't excite me and it won't change a thing for the Israeli intelligence agencies. This is a good story for the news and nothing more."